Your internal communications program is a foundational component for successful advocacy efforts. Remember, you’re likely to find many of your best advocates right in your own backyard. Internal audiences are your employees, board members, and funders—the individuals or groups within (or closely associated with) your organization. These internal audiences are key to the success of any advocacy campaign, and you need them with you from the beginning of your program.
Want to know why engaging internal audiences in your advocacy initiative is essential?
- increase awareness of the organization and its brand and/ or advocacy initiative
- improve brand position in the marketplace and in the minds and hearts of audiences
- make it easier for all audiences—whether policymakers, customers, or board members—to find answers to their questions
- improve the organization’s ability to hire the best talent and recruit the best volunteers
- decrease the costs of engaging external audiences by being recognized as thought leaders
Organizations often use their internal audiences in marketing products and services, but you can do the same when looking to affect issues, change policy, and drive corporate social responsibility. Employees are too often an untapped resource, yet they can be some of those boots on the ground to help you in your advocacy. What your employees think, say, and do has a significant impact on your success. By turning employees into trusted communication ambassadors, companies bring their strongest asset and their most vocal internal advocates in direct contact with their customer base— their external target audiences. In order to have an effective advocacy campaign, you must create a unified effort by educating, empowering, and exciting your champions. You must do this from the start of your campaign, and it must be a deliberate effort.
Employee advocacy is a measurable approach to growing your reach through word of mouth—the rawest, yet strongest, form of any type of promotion. Employees can be the proudest, loudest, and most knowledgeable ambassadors a company has. Employees bring a unique combination of expertise, authenticity, and close communications to an organizational initiative that is unmatched by even the best-run external-advocate program.
Most companies will expend a great deal of effort on their external marketing. But what if all of the brilliant insights gained in the external communications process could be ingrained in the mind of each employee? What if there were a deliberate step in the process to help employees not only perform their functions better but also more intimately understand those whom they serve? What if each and every employee could be enabled and equipped to be a powerful steward of the organization and its advocacy initiatives?